Sunday, March 19, 2006

'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro

One of the books that I was very excited about reading, and which did not disappoint me. The book with its melancholy and mellow narrative makes a story on a difficult scientific topic, completely believable, by its sheer depth. It starts off as a first person account by the protagonist, Kathy who is now about to enter a crucial phase of her life and as she starts to tell her story the narrative shifts to her school days, when they were growing up in a special school at a remote corner of England, Hailsham – that becomes a leitmotif for their struggle in life.

The story revolves around her classmates and their interactions with the teachers at the school – how they get to know the reasons for their existence, the boundaries within which they will need to lead all their lives and their coming of age. As they grow; their angst, tensions, passions and quarrels among close friends makes for an interesting read.

New relevant terms and meanings are introduced without being jarring. The book tries to project the social misgivings and consequences of certain less thought about facets of scientific growth. Through this it also tries to show the inherent fragility of life. As Kathy, Ruth and Tommy grow from one stage of life to another, searching for answers and trying to avoid the ultimate purpose of their life, the whole scenario shifts as they come to stare at reality and find that rumours that they believed in are false and their worst fears will come true.

As life goes on and close coveted friends drift apart and meet again, memories and persons fade away; the story retains its gentle pace until it leaves you tottering at the end for an answer as to - could the happenings been avoided with a little more thought on how we treat those who are not normal, those not part of the mainstream, how they lose out and the immense pain and agony they might be going through.

An excellent read which was the front-runner for the Booker award 2005. Kazuo Ishiguro's style of writing is very evocative and filled with pathos and as gentle as the light, cool evening breeze. The underlying theme, which is hardly ever made explicit, makes for a poignant yet compelling form of science fiction.

Currently reading 'India Unbound' by Gurcharan Das.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Rang De Basanti

Finally watched 'Rang De Basanti' at Rex, yesterday evening.
There are sparks of brilliance at times, unconventional too, but the movie tries to fit things in place that at times seems artificial, almost laughable.
Especially the parts on killing people and violence are a bit too far fetched.
The cinematography and screenplay is very innovative ...
Some scenes are thrilling, like the one in which Amir Khan plays the role of Azad and escapes from the Ram Lila grounds in a motorcycle.
There are some pathetic comparisons too, like when the character of DJ and Sue are kissing and the scene cuts to a part of the documentary where the freedom fighters are on a fast unto death.
Certain dialogues, captions and narrative from the diary do evoke patriotism.
The tenor is so comic even when the protagonists have occupied the AIR studios. The humour spoils the mood towards the end.
Probably I knew some parts of the story and hence was critical of things, as I expected something better. However some portions are plain boyish probably trying to show that it is after all by a bunch of college guys; who dance mindlessly at times.
The music is great, and the best song I felt was Lata Mangeshkar and A R Rehman's rendition of 'Luka Chuppi' and the picturization for the song I was not able to imagine; until I saw the movie. Poignant. Brilliant. Most other songs are good too, A R Rehman is getting better and better.
Talking of recent movies, the message of being constructive (Swades) is always better than being constructive by being destructive(RDB). All in all, a good attempt; that fiery idealism is indeed missing from the present youth, that is us and needs to be ignited and this movie is in the right direction.